Goalies are as unique as the gear they wear, and this has never been more true than over the last decade. Gone are the days of a single "Stand Up" style when goalies relied on their feet and legs to make most of their saves. Today's goalies are using their entire bodies to make saves, and the way in which they do this differs from one goalie to another. Add this to each goalie's body type and skill set and you start to get a sense of just how unique each goalie is!
Keeping in step with the evolution of goaltending styles, the days of one leg pad (or catch glove, or blocker, etc) for every goalie are also long gone. Today's gear manufacturers are creating more "style specific" gear that is tailored to the individual needs of each goalie, as well as different levels of gear that are designed for different skill levels, age groups, body types, etc. In the end, today's goalie has a large variety of options to choose from, and it is important to choose the gear that offers the best balance of protection, mobility and functionality.
No matter which equipment option that you consider, there are a few key points to keep in mind when choosing the best gear for you or your goaltender:
Bigger is Not Necessarily Better. The object, to use a Mighty Ducks movie analogy, is not to build the biggest goalie and hope that he/she stops the puck due to sheer size. The reality is that goalies who have appropriately sized gear for their size and body type often perform better than goalies with gear that is too big for them.
Consider "Growing Room" Carefully. On average, a young, growing goalie can expect to get one (low end) to three (extremely high end) years in most of his/her equipment. While "growing room" can and should be considered as a factor when purchasing, smart money is spent on getting equipment that fits as close to perfect at the time or purchase as possible. Goalie's who have gear that is too big often have less success, are more frustrated, are hurt more often, and have less fun than the goalie who's gear fits properly. Consult the fitting and buying guides above for our advice on buying gear with "growing room".
What Your Favorite Goalie Wears May Not Be Right for Your Game. The brand that your favorite goalie wears may be a starting point for choosing your gear, but don't let your favorite goalie's brand and model be the one determining factor when choosing for you or your goalie. Fit, performance, and functionality - specific to your unique style and body type - should be the most important considerations.
Price vs. Quality. While there is a correlation between price and quality, this correlation is not necessarily perfect. Manufacturers have made great advances in equipment construction practices and techniques in recent years, and these improvements have served to both reduce cost and increase quality among many mid-level pieces. Buyers can purchase these pieces with confidence, knowing that their gear will perform and endure as expected.
So - where do you start? That's where we come in. Our staff of Total Goalie experts has created this shopping guide as a resource to help you choose the right gear for the unique goalie in you. Whether you are an advanced level goalie, or a parent looking for the first set of gear for your youngster, the fitting and buying guides below will arm you with the information necessary to make the most informed choice possible. If you still have questions, we encourage you to Contact Us at any time. We'd love to help!